The Importance Of Genetic Testing
DNA understanding has transformed healthcare, especially diagnostics. It has now been shown that a number of diseases that occur in the human body are due to some sort of mutation in DNA sequence.
Cancers are one of the best examples of diseases caused due to mutation in the DNA sequence.
After information was discovered about genetic disorders, scientists have developed about 900 tests related to genes. In the current status quo, genetic testing is carried out for the following main reasons:
– Prenatal testing to detect genetic diseases in unborn babies (Down’s syndrome, etc.)
– To screen for heritable mutations that individuals can pass on to their progeny.
– Preemptive testing for a disease before it can show its symptoms.
– Confirm a clinical diagnosis for certain symptoms.
Basically, the gene tests are focusing on signs for a disorder in DNA or RNA that has been extracted from the patient’s blood or related samples like saliva. Based upon genetic testing, students and professionals can also tell whether a person has more copies of the gene or less.
For instance, people who can metabolize drugs fast normally have more copy number of genes. Gene testing has also application in evolutionary studies.
One of the most important aspects of genetic testing is that it can be used to predict your disease before time. Considering the case of breast cancer, genetic testing based upon genes known as BRCA have been developed. Women that have mutations are likely to develop breast cancer.
A lot of academic focus is shifting towards getting knowledge on genomic medicine. A viable strategy is to opt for online courses in genomic medicine, medical assistant training and similar courses that are focusing on newer aspects of medicine.
Interestingly, Angelina Jolie recently revealed that she had undergone a mastectomy operation (removal of breasts) after genetic testing had predicted that she would develop breast cancer.
One of the most important aspects of genetic testing is its impact on the health care system. There were recently a number of cases in which the issue of medical insurance is raised. Some insurance companies would not provide insurance coverage if there is some genetic mutation that is causing the disease.
However, Obama’s policies pertaining to healthcare have been to avert this insurance isolation for mutations based cases. Another ethical consideration regarding genetic mutation is that if the disease is indicated and it has no cure. These considerations have led to the development of careers for genetic counselors.
A genetic counselor can advise you the road map for which genetic tests to go for. Furthermore, they guide if the mutation that has been detected has no cure.
Therefore, on a wider scale, genetic testing has revolutionized the method of diagnosing diseases. Field individuals are in a better position to manage prognosis and also prevent mass spread of diseases. However, the societal and ethical considerations are a barrier that is still to be crossed by the health care industry.
Another factor is the cost of the genetic testing, which has come down, but is still a costly affair. The issue of gene patents can also result in the cost of genetic testing going higher. From the research perspective, genetic testing is a great tool.